And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, “What would this idle babbler wish to say?” Others, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.” (Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.) Acts 17:18-21

The present moment has shaken things up. What it hasn’t changed directly, it has underlined and made obvious. I think for churches, the second point is more relevant. The world around us hasn’t really gotten more lost or further from God. The vestiges that kept us complacent and believing that things weren’t so bad have crumbled, however, leaving us to reckon with what remains.

Which brings us to the question: what do we do?

I have actually seen some wailing and lamenting about the failure of the church to hold back the sea with a broom and be the conscience of the world; this was a farcical proposition at best. No, the mission of believers is to teach what we know as truth to listeners. If we don’t imitate Paul and find people who want to hear, we will fail. Not because we have a tough audience, but because we are waiting for our outdated approach to come back into relevance again; once again, a farcical, clownish approach.

Go to the Areopagus. Go to the agora. Find where the conversations are happening, and speak on the truth.

“Hi, I’m a Christian. What do you want to know?”

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published October 9, 2020